Registered Nurse Courses and Schools

Learn what registered nurses (RNs) do, and see how to become one. Read on for more information about education programs, including common courses, and get details about licensing requirements. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

There are three paths to becoming a registered nurse, but competition is high and candidates will need to rank high in their class and complete prerequisite courses. Graduates of a nursing program will have to pass the licensing examination to become registered nurses before they can provide nursing care to patients.

Responsibilities Take vital signs and record in patient record, administer prescribed medication, provide prescribed treatment, start and monitor intravenous lines
Programs Diploma, associate's and bachelor's degree nursing programs are available
Classes Physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, microbiology

What Are the Duties of a Registered Nurse?

Registered nurses (RNs) work alongside doctors and other medical professionals to treat the medical conditions of their patients. RNs educate their patients about health and wellness while teaching them how to manage medical conditions. They also record patients' medical histories while assessing symptoms. A typical day for an RN might include:

  • Administering medication
  • Treating wounds
  • Starting an intravenous line
  • Taking and recording vitals
  • Observing patients
  • Consulting with doctors

How Do I Begin This Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states require that you graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses in order to obtain licensure and begin working as an RN (www.bls.gov). Approved nursing programs include diploma, associate and bachelor's degree programs. Diploma programs may last around three years, might be offered by hospitals and are less common than the other programs. Community and junior colleges grant an Associate Degree in Nursing that can be completed in two years while colleges and universities award a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) that takes four years.

Are There Admission Requirements?

Nursing programs are very competitive and require that you complete program applications and prerequisites to be considered for the program. Prerequisite classes may include chemistry, psychology, algebra and English. Additionally, many programs have a minimum GPA for acceptance into their program and require that you take assessment exams to prove that you are eligible to enter college-level courses.

Which Courses Could I Take?

The curriculum for nursing programs includes both classroom study and supervised clinical experience. Nursing programs provide a comprehensive study of the field, preparing you to care for patients across the lifespan. Courses may include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Human development
  • Medical microbiology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Health assessment

What Online Options Are There?

If you're interested in distance learning options for nursing training, some public and private colleges and universities offer RN to BSN programs online. To enroll, you would need an active RN license. The clinical and laboratory requirements need to be completed at a physical location.

The program may be fully online or a hybrid of on-campus and online work. Lessons may be presented via recorded or live lectures. You'll need a computer with Internet access, an Internet browser and word processing software.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Loyola University New Orleans

    Loyola University New Orleans responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Loyola University New Orleans:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • South University

    South University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Benedictine University

    Benedictine University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Benedictine University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Widener University

    Widener University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Widener University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Delaware

    University of Delaware responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Delaware:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

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